The Italian government recently decided to move forward with planning for the construction of underwater, mobile floodgates to mitigate flooding in Venice, situated on islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. The soundness of the plan is discussed by several scientists in the May 14 issue of Eos, published by the American Geophysical Union.
The approved plan to protect Venice, called MOSE (Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico, or Experimental Electromechanical Module), involves the construction of 79 gates at three lagoon inlets. When waters rise 1.1 meters [43 inches] above "normal," air will be injected into the hollow gates, causing them to rise, blocking seawater from entering the lagoon and thereby preventing the flooding of Venice. The floodgates will take approximately eight years and $2.6 billion to construct.
Some critics of MOSE, such as Paolo Antonio Pirazzoli of the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), are skeptical as to whether the gates will actually prevent flooding. In his Eos article, Pirazzoli states that the design of the gates is based on outdated predictions of sea-level change, utilizing a scenario that differs by nearly 0.26 meters [10 inches] from recent estimates of rise in sea level over the next century, made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Pirazzoli also
asserts that the MOSE designers did not consider sea-level rise associated with land subsidence or increased water levels associated with extended rainy or windy periods.
Harvey Leifert | alphagalileo
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